camelbak_1.jpgI bought a new Camelbak reservoir this week. The old one bit the dust after more than ten years of faithful service, and judging by the odd green tint, it was probably about time.

It wasn’t a big deal. I stopped by my local outdoor store, Wilson Backcountry Sports, where they had a sampling of Camelbak products in a highly visible area adjacent the cash register, and picked up a new 70 oz reservoir to replace the one that had accompanied me on countless backcountry trips, ski days, mountain bike rides, and other worldly travels, and had just recently failed. It was even reasonably priced: a little less than twenty-five bucks after Andy extended the good buddy deal.

Though I was saddened to have to replace such a faithfully utilitarian piece of equipment, serving me so well for so long, it wasn’t until I got it home and opened up the package that I realized what pleased me most about my new purchase.

It wasn’t the prospect of a new, clean, unadulterated, non-scummy Camelbak; rather, it was the easy-to-open, easy-to-pack-back-up, fairly simple and mostly recyclable packaging.
Bad packaging just pisses me off, and Camelbak has done a commendable job of eschewing the bullshit that is modern commercial packaging—namely, the much reviled clamshell.

Other than the product, there was a total of three pieces of packaging:

• the recyclable corrugated cardboard outer wrap
• the non-recyclable plastic tray holding the reservoir
• the tiny bit of plastic protecting the bite valve from contamination

It was fairly minimalist and Camelbak deserves kudos for keeping things simple. Of course, it would be nice if there was even less packaging, or if it was more recyclable, or if Camelbak’s choice of packaging was not such a surprise and used by more manufacturers. It’s not as simple as attaching a 3×5 card to a piece of underwear and rolling it all up with a couple of rubber-bands, but at least I didn’t have to hurt myself or others wrestling with some impossible-to-open plastic clamshell.